Background: The high percentage of female chiropractic students in Switzerland suggests a future sex shift in the chiropractic profession in Switzerland. Thus the purpose of this study is to determine if male and female chiropractors achieve the same treatment outcomes in neck pain patients.
Methods: Included in this prospective outcomes study were 849 patients with neck pain of any duration. Prior to the first treatment, baseline demographic data, the Bournemouth Questionnaire (BQ) and the numerical rating scale (NRS) for neck and arm pain were completed. At the follow-up time points of 1 week, 1, 3, 6 and 12 months, the Patient’s Global Impression of Change (PGIC) scale to categorize the actual ‘improvement’ and the BQ and the NRS for neck pain were completed.
The Chi-square test compared the proportion of patients reporting ‘improvement’ between male and female chiropractors for each time point. The unpaired Student’s t-test compared the BQ and the NRS actual and change scores between patients of male and female chiropractors at all time points. Demographic factors were compared between the sexes using the Chi-square test.
Results: Proportionally more patients of female chiropractors reported ‘improvement’ at 1 month (p = 0.035) and significantly more pain reduction at 3 months (p = 0.040). Patients of male chiropractors presented with significant older age (p = 0.0001), higher levels of baseline neck pain (p = 0.012), a lower proportion with radiculopathy (p = 0.014) and less pain medication use (p = 0.046).
Conclusions: Female chiropractors achieve at least equally satisfying treatment results for neck pain patients compared to male chiropractors. Female chiropractors also have a higher proportion of female patients compared to male chiropractors and patients presenting with radiculopathy and using pain medications.
Author keywords: Neck pain mechanical — Treatment outcome — Chiropractic — Spinal manipulative therapy — Gender
Author affiliations: University of Zürich. Orthopaedic University Hospital Balgrist. Department of Chiropractic Medicine (Switzerland / Zurich)
This abstract is reproduced with the permission of the publisher; click on the above link for free full text. PubMed Record